The deed transcribed below is a Wilkes County, North Carolina dated 8 October 1799, in which William Fields sold 200 acres to Jordan Phipps of Surry County, North Carolina, with the latter’s name spelled “Jordon.” This deed is important for multiple reasons.
Why the deed is important:
First of all, it concerns Jordan Phipps or Phips and shows that he bought land in Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1799. This would appear to likely associate him with Samuel Phips who also appears in Wilkes County before appearing in Ashe County records from 1800 on. (Samuel’s father in law George Reeves also appears in Wilkes County records prior to 1800, but in Grayson County, Virginia records after that. Samuel Phips appears in Grayson County, Virginia records briefly later on, but only as an heir of George Reeves.)
Secondly, the deed associates Jordan Phipps with Surry County, North Carolina. Although the deed involves land in Wilkes County, Jordan (spelled “Jordon”) in the document is said to be “of Surrey County & State aforesaid.” This would associate him with the same county to which Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Fips and her husband Ephraim Witcher moved after the death of her father John Fips or Phips around 1769, with John having left a Charlotte County, Virginia estate. Betsy had already been assumed to likely be a relative of Samuel, and here is further evidence that this may be the case.
Ephraim and Betsy’s son Taliaferro Witcher then moved into Ashe County, North Carolina, where Samuel appears in records from 1800. The given name Taliaferro is pronounced the same as Toliver, and he was likely named for the same Toliver family which was so closely interrelated with the Samuel Phips family. Taliaferro Witcher witnessed an 1840 Ashe County administrator’s bond pertaining to the estate of Samuel’s son Joseph Phips. Taliaferro Witcher is also believed to have married Jane Reeves; Samuel Phips’s father in law was George Reeves.
These are circumstantial factors which do not in themselves prove relationships, but the deed is further evidence which can be added to what has been a huge, growing mountain of evidence. That evidence suggests that Samuel Phips of Ashe County, North Carolina is in some way related to John Phips or Fips of Lunenburg and Charlotte Counties, Virginia, with John’s family apparently originating from the Phipps family of Brunswick and Sussex Counties, Virginia.
Jordan Phips or Phipps:
Here’s a capsulized view of what we know about Jordan, assuming that all of the following refer to the same individual, which appears correct. Some of the supporting evidence that these events refer to the same Jordan are the presence of his brother Richardson in close proximity later in Tennessee, with both named in their father Benjamin’s will, and the fact that Jordan referred to his daughter in his Tennessee will as Nancy McCulloch Perry, when Jordan had married a “McCullock” back in Virginia.
- 1769: Christened in Albemarle Parish, Sussex County, Virginia, as son of Benjamin and Martha Phipps
- 1793: Married Penelope McCullock in Sussex County, Virginia
- 1797: Mentioned in his father Benjamin’s will
- 1799: Bought land in Wilkes County, North Carolina while being “of” Surry County, North Carolina
- 1800: Appears in the census in Wilkes County, North Carolina as Jordan Fips, born about 1756-74
- 1805: Was bondsman to a marriage in Wilkes County, North Carolina
- 1807: Had an unclaimed letter in the post office in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee
- 1826: Wrote a will in Williamson County, Tennessee, adjacent to Davidson County
- 1842: His brother Richardson Phipps, also mentioned in Benjamin’s will, wrote a will in Davidson County, Tennessee
Samuel and Jordan appear to have been of the right ages to have been brothers. Because Samuel Phips is not mentioned in Benjamin’s will, however, we can assume that there was no such relationship. What their relationship was, assuming there was one, is unclear.
And who was the William Fields from whom Jordan Phipps bought 200 acres in Wilkes County? He may have been related to a later William Fields, actually William Andrew Fields, who Find A Grave claims was born in 1789, died in Grayson County, Virginia, married Mary Fields. It is further claimed that she was born in 1789, died 1860 in Alleghany County, North Carolina (Alleghany was formed in 1859 from Ashe.)
This Mary is said to have also married David Maxwell and to have been a daughter of John McMillan. We’ve noted various relationships between the Phips family and the Maxwell and McMillan families. In fact, another daughter of John McMillan (Nancy) married Joseph Phipps, evidently Capt. Joseph Phipps (1786-1848) (see Benjamin Floyd Nuckolls, Pioneer Settlers of Grayson County, Virginia, 1914, pp. 173-178).
In his 1840 will, John McMillan refers to “Polly Maxwill,” who would be the Mary Fields mentioned above. (Polly was an extremely common period nickname for Mary.) She is said to have married Fields, but also David Maxwell, hence the “Maxwill” reference.
The deed witnesses:
As for Bennet or Bennett Dula, who was one of the witnesses to the 1799 deed, the surname appears to have been sometimes Dooley. Without taking extensive time to go down the Bennett Dula rabbit trail, it appears to be claimed that he fathered a later Bennett Dula who moved to Tennessee and who was arrested in 1833 for the murder of William Patton.
Bennett Dula seems to tie into the same family as the legendary Tom Dooley/Dula some decades later. Tom Dula, usually referred to in popular legend as Tom “Dooley,” is believed to have murdered Laura Foster in Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1866. This gave rise to the well known folk song “Tom Dooley.” The song was recorded by the Kingston Trio in 1958. Michael Landon played Tom Dula in the 1959 film The Legend of Tom Dooley.
Another witness to the deed was William Demoss. A published transcription of Wilkes County, North Carolina court records includes a mention, apparently from 1794, of a group of men who were to “lay off a new road.” This was to extend from “the mouth of Poplar Branch” to “the Elk Road.” Among those listed are William Demoss, along with Lewis and James Demoss, as well as Thomas Dula and William Dula.
In addition, a published list of Wilkes County marriages refers to William Demoss as the bondsman for the 1797 marriage of John “McMullin” (McMillan?) to Jean Dula.
Supposedly Joannah Demoss, daughter of William, was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina but married John G. Montgomery in 1815 in Williamson County, Tennessee. This is the same county to which Jordan Phipps had moved, probably by the time of the marriage. She then supposedly died in Yalobusha County, Mississippi.
The third witness was Thomas Normond. Although the surname looks like a variant spelling of something, he appears with the same spelling in a 1782 militia or tax list in Surry County, North Carolina. A deed abstract also shows Thomas Normond, again with the same spelling, as a witness to a Surry County deed in 1789 in which John Cox bought land from William “Saffoon” (almost certainly Laffoon).
The Fields to Phipps deed is found in Wilkes County, North Carolina Deed Book C-1, pp. 364-365:
Wm. Fields To Jordon Phipps
This Indenture made the 8th of October in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and ninety nine between Wm. Fields of Wilkes County & State of North Carolina of the one part & Jordon Phipps of Surrey County & State aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth that the Sd. [i.e. said] William Fields for and inconsideration of the Sum of one hundred Pound [as written] to him in hand paid in hand paid [as written, phrase repeated] by Jordon Phipps (the Receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath bargained granted Sold & Conveyd & by these presents doth grant bargain Sell & Convey unto the Sd. Jordon Phipps A tract of land Containing two hundred Acres Lying in Wilkes County & State of North Carolina on the long branch Begining on a maple tree & Coucumber tree on the north bank of Sd. branch a Small distance above Fa[?]shes improvements & Runs South one hundred and twenty Six & a half poles to a Stake on the top of the Mountain then west two hundred and fifty three poles to a Smal Locus on the flat on the north Side of the branch then north one hundred & twenty Six & a half poles to a Stake then east two hundred and three poles to the begining Together with all woods waters mines minerals heredetaments & appurtenences to the Sd. Land belonging to the Sd. Wm. Fields doth hereby bind himself his heirs & assigns forever well & truly to warrant the aforesaid land
Land premises with the appurtinences unto him the Sd. Jordon Phipps his heirs & assigns forever free & Clear from all incumberances and Claims whatsoever in Testimony whereof the Sd. William Fields hath hereunto Set his hand & Seal the date above written
William Fields (Seal)
Signed Seald & deliver’d in presence of us
(wrote on the back)
May term 1802
The within deed ws duly proven in open Court by the oath of Bennet Dula
Test Wm. B. Lenoir C.C
- Bennett Dula (Dooley?) Marion Co., IN and here (GenForum)
- The Death of Laura Foster (Sleuth Sayers blog)
- The Dooley/Dula Family
- The Dula Family
- Early Wilkes Co., NC Settlers Who Appear Related (earlier post)
- Family: John G. Montgomery/Joannah DeMoss (An American Journey)
- Matthew Cox of Greene County, TN (Greene County, East Tennessee)
- More Witcher and Phipps Connections: VA to NC (earlier post)
- Orman Morgan (Morgan-Gray Family Genealogy, with Thomas Normond in Surry County list)
- Nancy Phipps, Daughter of Jordan Phipps, 1821 (earlier post)
- Tom Dooley (Song) (Wikipedia)
- Tom Dula (Wikipedia)